Securing a wireless network: 8 steps (with pictures)

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Securing a wireless network: 8 steps (with pictures)
Securing a wireless network: 8 steps (with pictures)
Anonim

In this article, we describe techniques with which you can secure your wireless home network. Proper security is very important, your neighbors can use your internet connection, but at the same time they can access your files and see what you are doing. Or even worse: hackers can use your connection to upload illegal content on the internet.

Steps

Secure Your Wireless Home Network Step 1

Step 1. Connect to your router via a browser by entering the Gateway IP address in the address bar

  • Here's how to find your Gateway IP address in Windows:

    • Click Start > Run > type 'cmd' > Click Enter.
    • A command prompt window will now open. Type 'ipconfig /all' and press 'Enter'
    • Look for the line with the word "Gateway" and note the number next to it. It will look something like this: '192.168.1.1'.
    • Open Internet Explorer (or another browser).
    • Enter the found Gateway IP address in the address bar and click Enter.
  • How to find your Gateway IP address on a Mac.

    • Go to Applications > Utilities > Terminal.
    • A Terminal window will now open. Type 'ipconfig -a' and press 'Enter'.
    • Look for the line with the word "Gateway" and note the number next to it. It will look something like this: '192.168.1.1'.
    • Open Safari (or any other browser)
    • Enter the found Gateway IP address in the address bar and click Enter.
Secure Your Wireless Home Network Step 2

Step 2. Turn on encryption on your router/modem

Using 128-bit encryption or higher will make your wireless network much more secure. WEP and WPA are two different encryption methods. WEP is not secure, it can now be cracked in a few minutes with free programs that anyone can download and use. Use at least WPA, but preferably WPA2. WPA is already much more secure than WEP, but still not completely secure. Some older routers/modems do not support WPA2. In that case, you may want to consider purchasing a replacement device that does support it.

Secure Your Wireless Home Network Step 3

Step 3. Set an access password for the router

Anyone who has access to the router's configuration settings can turn off the security you set. If you forget the password, there is always the option to reset the router with the (physical) reset button. This will reset the router to factory settings.

  • Choose a secure password. Never use a password that is easy to guess such as "ABC123" or "Password" or a series of numbers in ascending order. Use a password with both lowercase and uppercase letters, numbers and (if possible) characters. The longer the better, although you will see that each router has a minimum and a maximum length. Use your brain - good passwords are hard to remember, but also hard to crack.
  • A weak WPA or WPA2 password can also be cracked within a day, so even when using WPA or WPA2, the password should be as strong as possible.
Secure Your Wireless Home Network Step 4

Step 4. Change the network name, or SSID, from the default to a unique name

An unchanged SSID is an indication that the network has been configured by someone unfamiliar with it and that other settings are likely unchanged as well. Use a name that you can remember, the SSID does not affect the security of the network.

Secure Your Wireless Home Network Step 5

Step 5. Turn on MAC address filtering on your router

A MAC address (not to be confused with the computer brand Mac) is a unique code with which you can identify every network card (and therefore computer). By turning on MAC address filtering, you ensure that only known MAC addresses can use the wireless network. Note that hackers can pretend to have a different MAC address, so this filtering option should never be used in place of good WPA2 security.

Secure Your Wireless Home Network Step 6

Step 6. Never turn off 'SSID Broadcast'

With the option 'SSID Broadcast' you can choose whether or not your network name is visible. It may seem safer to turn this off, but a hacker could still find out your SSID. This hacker then pretends to be your router and can thus connect to your computer, with all the consequences that entails.

Secure Your Wireless Home Network Step 7

Step 7. Turn off 'remote login'

Make sure you can't log in to your router remotely. The username is often 'Admin' by default. If a hacker knows this username, it is not very difficult to find out the password. You can change this setting within your router's configuration settings.

Secure Your Wireless Home Network Step 8

Step 8. Turn off the wireless configuration

Make sure you can't log in to your router via the WiFi (with the Gateway IP address). If you can only log in by connecting your computer to your router with an Ethernet cable, you can be sure that you can never be attacked 'wirelessly'.

Tips

  • If you don't see these options on your router, you may need to update your firmware. Worst case scenario, you'll have to buy a newer router.
  • Set the WPA2 settings on both your computer and the router.
  • Read the router's documentation for more information about security related to your specific device.

Warnings

  • A user with a 'cantenna' can reach your wireless network from a great distance. If you can't connect to your router with your laptop from the garden, that doesn't mean that someone else can't see your network a mile away. Hackers can break into your wireless network from a great distance.
  • Turn off File and Printer Sharing in your computer's Network and Sharing Center (Windows 7). This prevents other computers from accessing your files, at least through this option. There are even more 'back doors'.
  • Make sure to register all MAC addresses of your devices. And make sure you enter the correct MAC address. Once you have entered the wrong address, you will no longer be able to connect to your router with that device. You will then have to change it with one of your other devices, if you have one.

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